Don Reid [email protected] DReidTDR
COLDWATER TOWNSHIP — The 654 people in Branch County with valid Michigan Medical Marijuana cardS may have a dispensary in the county when the 2016 passed legislation goes into effect, pending finalization of licensing procedures.
Coldwater Township Supervisor Don Rogers asked his board to look into a township ordinance under the law to license grow operations and dispensaries.
“We want the control,” Rogers said. “We want to say where they can locate, when they operate, and how many. Then there is the revenue, up to $5,000 per year per license.”
Townships and municipalities also receive 25 percent of the three state marijuana taxes on all legal transactions.
Lawmakers acted because the constitutional amendment passed by 63 percent failed to clarify rules for operating the law. Lawsuits by those wanting to dispense marijuana followed.
The bills passed the Michigan House 93-7 to legalize medical cannabis dispensaries, regulate cultivation and processing operations and allow for use of edibles or oils, rather than smokable marijuana.
The laws also include an additional category for cannabis-infused products, as well as an added tax on dispensaries and a state licensing system, which institutes a seed-to-sale monitoring system. It requires state licenses to cultivate, sell, transport and test cannabis.
What the law does not do is regulate the current system, where a person can grow up to 12 plants and possess no more than two-and-a-half ounces or run a “caregiver grow operation” for up to five permitted patients.
There are dozens of such operations in residential neighborhoods throughout Branch County. Those in Algansee Township and the city of Coldwater have been subject to break-ins and thefts over the last two years.
Rogers said a local ordinance “would take it out of the basements and neighborhoods, where there are no controls or regulation. To